The bigger they are… Cardinals upend defending 6A champs in Vaughan’s return

The Cardinals student athletes and coaches pose for a photo with the 7 South Showdown Trophy. CF will go down as the first winners of the newly created rivalry series by Young Life Studios and Media Incoporated. Trent Haygood was named the offensive MVP and Kameron Eastam was nammed the defensive MVP. Contributed photo.
The Cardinals student athletes and coaches pose for a photo with the 7 South Showdown Trophy. CF will go down as the first winners of the newly created rivalry series by Young Life Studios and Media Incoporated. Trent Haygood was named the offensive MVP and Kameron Eastam was nammed the defensive MVP. Contributed photo.

What a difference a week makes?

The Camden Fairview Cardinals (1-1) traveled to El Dorado to take on the defending 6A State Champions in the Wildcats and walked away with a 39-21 win and the first ever 7 South Showdown Trophy.

The first half was a defensive slugfest while the second was full of tense observations and influenced calls.

Camden Fairview proved they weren't the same team that dropped a contest in Week0 on the very first play of the game when El Dorado attempted an onside kick, and it was played to the "T" by the Cardinals' special teams and recovered by Rashaun Bush. The Cardinals would pick up a first down on the drive before offensive guard Shamarion Walker exited the game with an injury. As the visiting team attempted to figure out its trench lineup, the Wildcats would take advantage and come up with a strip sack at its 47-yard line.

The Wildcats' offense were penalized and pushed back by the Cardinals before attempting a screen pass that Cardinals defensive tackle Khaleb Smith picked off and raced down to the El Dorado 20. El Dorado's defense came up with a couple of negative plays, including a 14 - yard sack that put the Cardinals out of field goal range.

After the punt went into the end zone, El Dorado would begin testing the Cardinal secondary with back-to-back first-down passes. Then, the ground game started to click for the Wildcats before a big third down stop by the Cardinals at their own 10-yard line. The Wildcats attempted a field goal that was badly missed.

On the Cardinals' next drive, Martavius Thomas would hook up with Caleb Tate for a critical 28-yard pick up. Then the Cardinals would start to pound the ball down to inside the five. CF brought in its jumbo package and Jabauree Lockhart powered the ball in to put the Cardinals on the board with 11:09 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats were penalized so the Cardinals decided to keep their heavy package on the field and add the two-point conversion with another Lockhart carry.

The defenses for each team would shine on the next couple of possession before a fumble recovery by Kameron Eastam in El Dorado territory game the Cardinal offense new life. Thomas would scamper for an eight-yard run before sophomore Trent Haygood would get loose for a 19 yard rushing touchdown at the 7:09 mark. Nasir Khan boomed the PAT to put the Cardinals ahead 15-0.

CF forced a three-and-out and another Cardinal punt. Then the Cardinal offense went on a 7 play, 68-yard drive that was capped by a Thomas two-yard TD run. Khan was again true on the PAT giving the Cardinals a 22-0 lead in front of a stunned Wildcat crowd.

The Cardinals would go into a preventative defense with about three minutes left before the half and El Dorado would go to its ground game. The Wildcats moved the ball down the field in seven rushing attempts and scored with 1:07 left before the half. CF dialed up a nice pass play in an attempted to extend their lead but it was under thrown. CF ended up punting the ball with little time left. The Wildcats attempted a fumble-rooskie from its own nine yard line as the half expired.

Despite the late El Dorado score, it appeared that the home team was intimidated and frustrated. The Wildcats were unable to get any traction as the Cardinals forced another three and out. DJ King would come up with back to back sacks that appeared to startle El Dorado quarterback Kolin Parker. Parker also served as the punter for the team but he bobbled the snap and CF's Bricen Butler made him pay with a walloping tackle deep inside El Dorado territory. The Cardinals would have to settle for a 35 yard field goal that would've looked good from 45 yards out.

Camden Fairview would then go for the knockout punch when they successfully attempted an onside kick. CF was hit with a sideline warning during the celebration. Facing a third and long, Thomas would hit Haygood on a quick slant for first down yardage, but in an attempt to get more, Haygood was stripped and the Wildcats would recover.

Then the calls started to get suspect to say the lease. The Cardinals had the Wildcats' running game bottled up when a Cardinal player attempted to rip the ball from an El Dorado ball carrier. The ball carrier ripped the ball forward as the Wildcat player was tackled and fell in the opposite direction. The play would somehow result in an unnecessary roughness call. The Wildcats' offense would get new life and appeared to hit the jackpot when Kolin Parker got loosed for a 47-yard run. However, the touchdown was called back due to a hold. Then, on the next play, Parker would link up with a receiver for a 48-yard touchdown. The next questionable call would come on the ensuing two point attempt when a receiver caught a Parker pass and his entire body appeared to be down at the one-yard line. After a brief delay, the officials ruled the two-point try successfully.

It wouldn't take long for the Cardinal to respond however as Haygood would catch the ensuing kickoff return it 57 yards to the El Dorado 37. A few plays later, Thomas would carry several bigger Wildcat receivers into the endzone for a ten-yard touchdown. Khan added the PAT and the Cardinals went up 32-15 with 3:02 left in the third.

El Dorado would again reap the benefit of a couple of calls on their next drive. At one point, a Wildcat coach begin to mouth things towards Cardinal defenders before another coach guided him back deeper into the sideline. The Wildcats would get all the way down to the Cardinal 2-yard line before a receiver was overthrown on a fourth down in the endzone.

This would again lead to a break in action as the Wildcat coaching staff stormed after an official and scolded him. The official would attempt to get play restarted but a timeout was called and the official was again bombarded.

Camden Fairview would chew up clock into the fourth quarter before Thomas hit Haygood out of the backfield for a 12-yard touchdown. with 4:58 left in the game. El Dorado would add a late score, but that would be it.

Thomas ended with 180 all-purpose yards and 8/15 passing with a total of three touchdowns. Haygood rushed six times for 80 yards and had three receptions for 67 yards. Kenny Lanford rushed 16 times for 76 yards.

The Wildcats had a net of around 100 rushing yards and were 11/21 passing for 118 yards.

Haven Adams and Jordan Askew played well in Walker's absence while starters such as Xavier Thrower, Landon Morgan and Jeremy Whitney stepped up. CF will be on the road again this Friday to play Pine Bluff Dollarway.

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